NEW YORK – DUMBO in Brooklyn may be a fast-growing neighborhood, teeming with tech companies and condos, but the gentrification memo hasn’t quite reached the area on York and Jay streets, underneath the BQE. The DUMBO Improvement District and Two Trees Management Co., in collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation and the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, decided to breathe some life and color on a dark street.
The result is DUMBO Walls, a series of eight murals in four blocks under the BQE, near York and Jay streets. Shepard Fairey contributed a mural in an otherwise empty lot behind the York Street train station. Fairey’s piece is in shades of pale yellow and red, and features a few Fairey trademarks, including OBEY Andre the Giant keeping watch in the middle of a floral composition. A woman with curly blond hair holds up said composition, looking like a female Charles Atlas holding the world in her arms. One side of the mural says peace, the other justice. Perhaps she’s responsible for both.
Another surprise favorite is Yuko Shimizu’s piece, whose enthusiasm approached me on the way to the F train. On one wall, a neon pink octopus forms the word “YES” in cursive, with an exclamation point. I didn’t realize octopi were so full of positivity, but something about the shade, and the conviction of the painting is impossible to resist.
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